UVSS board shorts: Oct. 20

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Grant Fund Allocations

The Commerce Student Society has been granted $2,500 from the Academic Grant Fund to facilitate a business conference, including a keynote speaker and accommodations for the Course Union. Since the pool for the term is $7,200, this grant accounts for a sizeable chunk of the fund’s resources. Though some Board members found this concerning, Director of Student Affairs Kaylee Szakacs does not foresee an issue, as the fund will be replenished in January.

Vote to Censure

Due to seven occurrences wherein Director of Finance and Operations Anas Cheema failed to submit his board reports or missed the prescribed deadline, the Board was required to put forward a vote for Cheema to be censured, an official expression of disapproval. After much discussion, the Board passed a vote to censure.

As a paid member of the UVSS elected by the student body, board members must submit a report before each of the regularly scheduled board meetings to record their contributions since the previous meeting and keep track of their work hours.

According to Chairperson Kayleigh Erickson, Cheema failed to submit his board reports six times and missed the 2:00 p.m. deadline by eight minutes, a seventh violation which automatically put him to a censure vote according to UVSS policy. She also noted that there were noticeable discrepancies in the reports he did submit, leading the Board to question the verisimilitude of his statements.

Because the Board does not have a running or tracking system for these reports and their policy has changed several times over the summer, Research and Communications Coordinator Ben Johnson allowed that there are flaws in the system; however, as paid officials, the consensus was that board members are obligated to keep track of their own deadlines and be accountable for their actions.

Cheema stressed that his reports were not submitted due to personal and mental health issues and that he takes his responsibilities as a member of the Board very seriously. He conveyed a desire to keep the meeting open when other members desired to move in-camera and said that he felt personally attacked and singled out during the UVSS meetings.

Though some members objected—and six abstained—the censure motion passed.

Lobbying and Advocacy

According to Director of External Relations Greg Atkinson, the Camosun College Student Society (CCSS) is pushing to reverse the provincial government’s funding cuts for ESL training. Atkinson called for the UVSS to support the CCSS’s efforts to restore this funding by issuing a statement of solidarity and being present for the rally the CCSS has planned for Oct. 30 on the Legislature lawns.

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is hosting a lobbying and advocacy week from Nov. 17-21. The UVSS board concluded that it should lobby all levels of government for affordable and accessible education, and elected a delegation of four directors to attend this event.

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